By Ajibola Abayomi,
August 14, 2018.
Gambian government and Nigeria’s foremost port concessionaire, Sifax Group has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) over the operation of a multimillion dollars dry port facility in the country.
The dry port is to be built at the capital, Banjul.
Sifax Group statement signed by its Spokesman, Muyiwa Akande, explained that the multi-national company with interests in maritime, aviation, haulage & logistics, oil & gas and hospitality, was already looking at other investment targets in the Gambia.
“Sifax Group has signed an MOU with the government of Gambia to build and operate a dry port in the country’s capital, Banjul.
“A dry port (sometimes inland port) is an inland intermodal terminal directly connected by road or rail to a seaport and operating as a centre for the transhipment of sea cargo to inland destinations.
“The MOU was signed in Banjul by Mr John Jenkins, Group Managing Director, SIFAX Group and Mr Abdoulie Tambedou, Managing Director, Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).
“After the signing ceremony, the SIFAX Group delegation, which also included Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Group Executive Vice Chairman and Mr. Saheed Lasisi, General Manager, Business Development and Strategic Planning, also met with the Gambian President, Mr. Adama Barrow, where prospects of extending the company’s investment plan to other sectors of the country’s economy was discussed extensively.
“The terms of the MOU include a multi-million dollar investment in the building and operations of the dry port to decongest the Port of Banjul in a public-private partnership business model.”
While thanking the Gambian President for the opportunity to Invest in the country, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi assured him and the people of Gambia of SIFAX Group’s willingness to open up the economy of the country by not only build and operating a world-class Inland Container Terminal, but also invest in other sectors that will help the Gambia grow and compete favourably among her peers in the continent and beyond.
The SIFAX Chairman said that the company believes in making Africa the focus of its investment hub. He stated that Africans stand a better chance to sincerely develop and tap the array of business and growth opportunities that abound in the continent.
He explained that the company has been doing this in some West African countries and was grateful to Mr President for opening the doors of Gambia to the firm.
“Our promise is that the country’s economy will feel our impact as we don’t intend to limit our interventions to the maritime sector alone. We have identified other areas we will be willing to invest in the nearest future,” Barrister Afolabi stated.
On his own part, Mr John Jenkins assured that the company would rely heavily on its 30-year-old business experience acquired working in various sectors and countries as it sets out to turn around the country’s maritime sector.
“We are delighted as a company to begin this journey of investing in The Gambia. As a company, we have a record of success in all the sectors and countries we operate. We will bring our experience and expertise to bear in the running of the dry port. The project will help in decongesting the Port of Banjul, create employment for the people of Gambia and make the port very profitable and competitive. These are some of the values SIFAX Group will bring to the table,” Jenkins said.
President Adama Barrow thanked the delegation for choosing the Gambia for their investment foray.
He said Gambia needed a lot of investment, both local and foreign, to grow the economy and promised to provide enabling environment for SIFAX Group and other foreign investors to thrive.